Pros & Cons of Different Employee Time Clocks for Small Businesses


Employee time clocks are essential, and investing in one can be highly critical, particularly for small-scale businesses. With many time clock apps available, selecting the right one is vital.  Consider thinking about what is best for your business and your employees.

Knowing what is available in the market is your first step in understanding what your business needs. In the following section, we’ll discuss the different types of time clocks and go into detail regarding their pros and cons.

Keep on reading to learn more about the different time clocks you can choose from and which one will suit the needs of your business.

1. Card Punch Time Clocks

Businesses have long used punch clocks. Today, however, they are considered old school, given the vast array of other automated and robust time-clocking systems. Card punch is an original hardware solution that began in the late 1800s. This technology allowed employees to fill out physical cards and store them in a filing system. Employees used cards, inserted them into the clock, and recorded physical stamps of time when they arrived at the workplace and left at the end of the day.

Pros: Card punch clocks allow employees to time in and time out. They have been instrumental in today’s advanced technologies in the time-tracking and scheduling field.

Cons: There are many problems associated with this type of system. Tracking time via cards is considered outdated and inefficient, especially compared to the many other solutions we have today. Some companies might have been employing this crude system. If you have a punch card system, it’s time to upgrade.

2. Biometric Time Clocks

A biometric time clock is a hardware device that uses biometrics to identify an employee’s identity. Some forms of biometrics include fingerprints, palm-prints, iris scans, facial recognition, and voice recognition. Typically, the biometric system automates the process of clocking in and out. Installation generally is in access points such as a door or gate. Employees can enter and leave an area as the system records and indicates the employees’ access status. Although they are certainly on the pricier end of the spectrum, biometrics are leading-edge technology.

Pros: Biometric employee time clocks can help small businesses. For one, they are easy to install and operate. Two, there are no passwords required. Three, speed is an advantage as they are quick for employees to use. Finally, they prevent buddy punching, which refers to the practice of employees clocking in and out for each other.

Cons: Biometric employee time clocks have several drawbacks, as well. First, biometrics demand even mobile employees to interact with physical hardware. Second, environmental factors can impact clocking. For instance, biometrics need clean hands and dust-free environments to work.

3. Web-Based Time Clocks

Web-based time clocks provide access to clock-in features through a web browser on a computer. Small businesses can have a system or software installed on company computers that will allow employees to clock in from any desktop connected to the internet. Employees have unique logins with their username and password. They enter starting and ending times during their shifts. They can stop during breaks and start again afterward, as well. Most office set-ups make use of web-based time clocks.

Pros: Web clocks have several advantages. The first thing is the convenience it provides. They can even offer some flexibility, whether you work at home, in the office, or a remote location. The second reason to invest in this product is its cost. Web-based time clock software is quite affordable and accessible. Finally, mobility is the most popular advantage for a small business, as web clocks offer mobility options for distributed workgroups.

Cons: While web clocks are quite beneficial, they can have a few disadvantages as well. For one, employees tend to forget to clock in or clock out, which is a common scenario in some companies. Another problem is identity confirmation. Small companies have to contend with the idea that employees are reporting accurately.

4. Proximity-Based Time Clocks

Proximity-based time clocks are hardware-based clocks that require a card or fob. When the employees place their fob or cards near the device, the timer activates. Because of this, employees have a specific card or fob assigned by the employer. They keep identifiers and use them for clocking in and out. In most cases, proximity-based employee time clocks are convenient and quick, particularly for small-scale businesses.

Pros: Proximity time clocks are said to be a wide-used time and attendance hardware. First, they are very convenient for small businesses with many employees. Second, they are fast and won’t hold up the line during rush hour. Third, they are very accurate since they are software-driven and record data by physical proximity. Finally, they offer a higher level of security.

Cons: One major drawback of the proximity time clock is the possibility of buddy punching. Chances are, proximity cards and fobs can be shared with other employees for punching on their behalf. Another drawback is proximity card loss when employees aren’t careful. A new card replacement will then be necessary.

5. Mobile Time Clocks

Mobile employee time clocks are software solutions that run on mobile devices such as a smartphone or tablet. Employee time clock apps can also integrated with GPS for location-specific tracking. While employees can use their smartphones to access the system, employers can access reports from anywhere. Mobile time and attendance is a fast-growing area of workforce management.

Pros: Mobile timekeeping is beneficial primarily for remote convenience and accuracy. Mobile Time Clocks allow a small-scale company to track a remote and mobile workforce. Moreover, software-only timekeeping makes mobile an economical solution since employees aren’t tied to a physical hardware station.

Cons: One inherent concern for mobile workforce management is the level of security. It’s possible to run into security issues when you have employees working offsite.

Now that we’ve rounded a list of different types of employee time-clocking, it’s easier to see which one will work for your small-scale business. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of each system as outlined above, and you’ll see which one is best suited for your company.

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